Get all of the flavors of a classic BLT in this delicious pasta dish perfect for hosting a crowd.
- 1 Pint grape tomatoes, cut into quarters
- 1 Tsp kosher salt, divided, plus more to taste
- 1/2 Tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided, plus more to taste
- 1/8 Tsp granulated sugar, optional
- 3/4 Cups sun dried tomatoes, finely chopped
- 1/2 Pound fresh mozzarella, cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 Pound bacon
- 1 Pound chiocciole or small shells pasta
- 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 4 1/2 Cups baby arugula
1. Boil water for pasta and line a plate with paper towel:Bring a large pot of salty water to a boil. Line a plate with paper towels and set it aside for later use.
2. Season the tomatoes:Place the tomatoes in a medium bowl and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Toss to combine. Taste the tomatoes and if they need additional sweetness, add a pinch of sugar and toss again.
3. Combine sundried tomatoes and cheese:Into the bowl with the quartered tomatoes, add the sundried tomatoes and mozzarella.
4. Cook the bacon in batches:In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the bacon in a single layer, being sure not to crowd the pan. Work in batches to cook all of the bacon. Cook, flipping once or twice, until crispy, 5–8 minutes total. Remove the cooked bacon to the plate lined with paper towels. Reserve 3 tablespoons of the bacon fat. Pour it into a small heat-proof bowl. You will use it later to flavor the pasta and salad dressing.
5. Crumble the bacon:Using your hands, crumble or tear the bacon into bite-sized pieces over the bowl of tomatoes and cheese.
6. Cook the pasta:Cook the pasta until al dente, according to the package instructions. When the pasta is done, drain it in a colander. Transfer it to a large mixing bowl. Drizzle in 3 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the reserved bacon fat. Season with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Toss well. Add the tomato-bacon mix and stir to combine, then taste the pasta and add more salt and pepper if necessary.
7. Make the salad dressing and dress arugula:In a small jar with a lid, combine the lemon juice, remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, and remaining 1 tablespoon of the reserved bacon fat. Season with salt and pepper to taste and shake well. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. Put the arugula into a medium bowl and toss it with the dressing.
8. Serve:Divide the pasta between six plates and pile a handful of dressed greens on top of each serving.